electric vehicles

£100,000 funding awarded to supercharge sustainable travel around Derbyshire

An online platform that will encourage EV usage and car sharing in Derbyshire has been awarded £100,000 funding from Sub-national Transport Body Midlands Connect, it has been announced.

Independent research consultancy Cenex, in partnership with Derbyshire County Council, has been announced as the winner of Midlands Connect’s rural mobility competition, receiving £100,000 of funding to develop its proposal for an online Electric Vehicle (EV) charging and car sharing platform.

Once developed, the online platform will allow EV users across Derbyshire to ‘rent out’ their private charge points, giving motorists access to more chargers to power up their vehicles. The platform will also promote car sharing by providing opportunities for people to rent out their cars when they’re not using them, meaning that residents without their own private vehicle can get around more easily.

The project will encourage sustainable travel and open up opportunities for EV ownership to groups who may not have benefitted from access to local charging points before, particularly households without off-street parking.

The online platform will initially be targeted towards residents and local businesses, with hopes to expand to tourists in time.

Cenex and Derbyshire County Council will now use the prize money of £100,000 to further develop, test and trial the platform. Following the trial phase, should it be successful, it can then seek funding from either public or private sector sources for its widespread rollout.

Midlands Connect’s future of rural mobility competition received submissions from businesses which were asked to present new ideas that could help solve the social, environmental, and economic issues caused by poor connectivity in rural areas.

The winner was announced today at Midlands Connect’s Rural Mobility Conference in Melton Mowbray. The conference included panels from competition winners and runners up, as well as the Department for Transport, senior politicians and transport experts.

Midlands Connect CEO Maria Machancoses said: “Poor transport connectivity can be a challenge for rural communities, with residents often experiencing worse access to amenities and services such as schools, workplaces or hospitals. Our rural mobility competition was created to address these challenges and create innovative solutions that would enhance transport connectivity in isolated communities.

“It’s great to see how many people have come together to challenge poorer connectivity at our conference today, particularly those from the Department for Transport, senior leaders and decision makers.

“All our finalists for the rural mobility competition produced innovative solutions to tackle rural mobility – picking one winner was very challenging. We would like to congratulate our competition winner Cenex and look forward to seeing the idea developed in further detail.

“Although there could only be one winner, we will be sharing all information and experience with our partners so that they can set up similar pilot schemes if they wish to do so.”

Robert Evans, CEO at Cenex, added: “Our digital mobility hub has the potential to change the way Derbyshire residents think about transport. By giving people access to information on services such as car sharing, we can improve transport connectivity and reduce harmful carbon emissions from road transport.

“It also gives residents the chance to make some extra money through renting out their own vehicle – at a time when the cost of living is ever-increasing.

“This platform has the power to accelerate the transition to EVs by opening up access to more charging points locally, especially for people without a driveway who may otherwise find charging difficult.

“We are delighted to be announced as the winners of Midlands Connect’s rural mobility competition and are excited to develop the idea further with Derbyshire County Council.”

Councillor Tony King, Cabinet Member for Clean Growth and Regeneration at Derbyshire County Council, also commented: “We welcome the support given by Midlands Connect in tackling rural connectivity, something that many counties across the Midlands are challenged with.

“Lower population density often leads to patchy public transport in rural areas and for people without access to a car, this can lead to isolation. The platform proposed by Cenex has the potential to change our residents’ lives – particularly those who do not have their own vehicle or share with other members of their household, as well as those considering switching to an electric vehicle.

“Whether it’s a student going to college, an elderly person attending a medical appointment or someone just trying to get to work – this platform has the potential to do so much for Derbyshire residents and we are thankful for the opportunity given to us by Midlands Connect. We’re looking forward to developing the platform even further with Cenex until it is ready for roll-out”.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Development, Home, Property and Construction, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , , ,

Chesterfield’s Avant Homes becomes 1st UK housebuilder to introduce Honda E vehicle fleet

Chesterfield-based housebuilder Avant Homes has become the first UK housebuilder to introduce a fleet of 30 Honda e electric vehicles for its regional sales teams to use.

With 60 live developments across the Midlands, Yorkshire, north east England and Scotland, the new fleet will enable Avant Homes to provide prospective homebuyers with a more mobile and accessible sales service.

Supplied by motor retailer Stoneacre Chesterfield, the leasing deal is the biggest transaction the Tapton Lock dealership has ever brokered with a corporate client. The leasing agreement for the fleet was handled by Lex Autolease.

The cars have been introduced as part of a new commitment by the homebuilder to meet prospective buyers by appointment only at their preferred location, whether that is at a development, their home or the workplace.

Commenting on the new fleet, Avant Homes chief executive officer, Colin Lewis, said: “We learnt a lot during lockdown about how best to continue to provide our customers with exceptional service that is tailored to their needs.

“We identified that our customers need greater flexibility due to the changing circumstances they face and that we needed to evolve our sales function. We wanted to be able to meet our customers wherever was most convenient for them, so our idea was to be able to take Avant Homes to them on demand, and this led us to securing and introducing our new fleet of Honda e cars.

“We chose the Honda e so that we could not only provide our people with a state-of-the-art vehicle, but also minimise the environmental impact of the increased travel our sales team will be undertaking. The car’s contemporary and exciting design also appealed to us due to our desire to be a housebuilder that is different from the competition. So, like Avant Homes, the Honda e embodies an excellent combination of innovation, practicality and fun.

“We were clear from the outset that we wanted to support a local business to help deliver this initiative, so we are very pleased to have been able to partner with Stoneacre Chesterfield to acquire the new fleet. The service provided by the team there has been outstanding, and we can’t wait to get the cars delivered to our team across our five regional offices.”

Avant Homes is one of the UK’s leading private residential property developers. The business currently builds approximately 2,000 homes each year, has a turnover of circa £500m and employs around 780 people.

The Honda e, which was launched earlier this year, is the first electric Honda vehicle to be sold in Europe. At the beginning of October, it won the City Car of the Year category in the Sunday Times Motor Awards 2020 due to its unique combination of dynamic performance, refined comfort and futuristic technology. Inside, the modern minimalist passenger cabin utilises contemporary materials and is spacious and uncluttered to creates a comfortable lounge-like feel.

The Honda e features a water-cooled 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery that can be charged using either Type 2 AC connection or a CCS2 DC rapid charge. The car is capable of travelling up to 137 miles before drivers need to recharge the battery which can be charged to 80 per cent capacity in only 30 minutes.

Regional manager for Stoneacre Chesterfield , David Harding, said: “The popularity of hybrid and e-vehicles is rapidly increasing, so we were delighted to see Avant Homes select the Honda e as the vehicle of choice for their sales fleet. We’re thrilled to be able to provide an affordable, efficient and stylish option, and help Avant Homes to optimise their customer experience.”

The fleet was officially handed over to Avant Homes at a special event at Chesterfield FC where the cars were revealed to Avant staff for the first time.

Avant Homes are also currently involved in building part of the residential area at Chesterfield Waterside. Find out more here.

Avant Homes supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Home, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , , ,

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